The news that the betting sector will once again play an important part in the Cheltenham Festival came as no surprise to anyone. The Jockey Club has revealed that 250 bookmakers are expected to be on site of one of the largest events in the sector in 2022.
Back in 2019, bookmakers from Coral projected that the market would generate approximately £500 million in the same year.
But while many people see the Cheltenham Festival as a reason to have some fun while betting, the annual premier horse racing event could turn out to be a real minefield for more vulnerable gamblers because of the large number of free bets and other special offers that would be available.
According to a YouGov poll, more than 1.5 million adult residents of the UK could be categorised as problem gamblers, while 7% of the local adults have already been harmed by someone else’s gambling addiction.
That is exactly why the organisers of the Cheltenham Festival published some recommendations aimed at helping viewers resist the urge to bet uncontrollably on the races. The recommended actions include setting deposit limits for certain periods of time, setting reality checks to better manage time spent online, taking a break from gambling for periods ranging from 24 hours to 6 weeks, as well as self-exclusion.
Gordon Moody Warns the Number of Female Problem Gamblers Rises in the UK
Several days before the official start of the Cheltenham Festival, the charity organisation that provides professional treatment of gambling addiction, Gordon Moody, warned that problem gambling is not reserved for men alone and also affects women. The charity revealed that its officers have seen an increasing number of women filing applications for gambling addiction treatment. According to data provided by Gordon Moody, the number of applications from women for problem gambling treatment has risen by 123% in the last year.
The Head of Growth at Gordon Moody, Rob Mabbet, has explained that the aforementioned increase is not directly related to the Cheltenham Festival but noted that various events, such as Ladies Day, usually see an increase in the number of women gambling.
Mr Mabbet shared that women are also affected by gambling-related harm as gamblers, and there has been a significant increase in the number of women who turn to Gordon Moody to reach out for help dealing with their gambling problems.
NHS Offers Compulsory Addiction Levy to Be Imposed the UK Gambling Sector
At the same time, the National Health Service (NHS), which has recently announced its decision to cut all ties with the UK gambling industry, has called for more action to tackle gambling participation rates and gambling-related harm.
The NHS called for a mandatory addiction levy to be implemented on the local gambling sector, with the money set to be used for tackling gambling addiction rates among British residents. The head of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, Henrietta Bowden-Jones and the head of the NHS Northern Gambling Service, Dr Matt Gaskell, have called for a new independent health board to be established in the country, to fully deal with problem gambling in the UK.
The proposed new board would control how the money collected through the aforementioned compulsory levy is spent in order to make sure that all gambling-related harm has been reduced by no less than 50% by 2024.
Some NHS representatives claim that the existing model that requires only voluntary contributions is simply not working. The current voluntary donations scheme is conducted through the largest charity organisation in the UK – GambleAware – but, recently, the NHS revealed that it would no longer accept voluntary donations from the gambling sector and intends to fund its own gambling addiction treatment services as of April 1st, 2022.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.